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  • Technocrats and Star Trek?

    I have another annoying question about the Technocracy. A few times I've seen them mentioned as the only option for playing hard-science Star Trek types. But...

    Star Trek is just about the mushiest, least consistent, least plausible scifi on TV. And The Federation is all about .... communism and the Prime Detective. It's even a multi-species collective.
    But the Void Engineers are capitalist space marines? Funded by the Syndicate. And... they shoot aliens instead of making alliances with them?
    And... isn't outer space literally in the Umbra? Doesn't that make hard sci-fi just not possible in-setting?

    Once again, I don't get it. Not saying it's badwrongfun, but how does it scratch that Star Trek itch?


    I am extremely literal-minded and always write very literally. If I don't say something explicitly, please never assume I implied it. The only exception is if I try to joke.
    Exalted and cWoD book list. Exalted name-generators, Infernal and 1E-2.5E homebrew from many authors.

  • #2
    Well for starters you have to understand the Union's history from an out-of-game perspective. While the Technocracy was first positioned as the pure evil Bad Guys of MtAs in the beginning, the Void Engineers were different. They were seen as good guys, often dubbed the Star Trek Convention by fans as they were more interested in going out there and exploring. The VE were the hopeful, optimistic ones. They wanted Mankind to become like the Humans of Star Trek, that they were going to help them become that. Even their wayward Technocrat bothers and sisters.

    They were not just willing to work with Mages but other Supernaturals. In fact there was a lot speculation both in and out of universe until like five or six years ago that the VE were going to abandon the Technocracy and go independent. Then their Revised CB came out and the VE themselves flat out squashed any notion of them leaving.

    In fact, the darkest aspect of the original VE Convention book was that the first couple chapters featured a VE talking about the Conventions' history, it's outlook and all that to a some mages, a werewolf and a changeling, only to in the end reveal that she was Nephandi-tainted, implying that a number of the Convention was being co-opted by eldritch entities in the Far Umbra. The Rev Ed book straight out labels her as dangerous Nephandi and not to be trusted.

    It's the more recent developments that has seen the VE darken in their outlook, going from the Star Trek Convention to the NuBSG Convention. From a Convention of Scientists and Explorers with some military force on the side to a Convention of Soldiers with some science and exploration on the side. All because of the damage the Avatar Storm wrought upon them and the damage it continues to cause.

    One of the great tragedies of the Union is that their most hopeful and most optimistic Convention is slowly losing it all for simple survival and none outside the VE are aware of it.


    Homo sapiens. What an inventive, invincible species. It's only a few million years since they crawled up out of the mud and learned to walk. Puny, defenceless bipeds. They've survived flood, famine and plague. They've survived cosmic wars and holocausts. And now, here they are, out among the stars, waiting to begin a new life. Ready to outsit eternity. They're indomitable. Indomitable.

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    • #3
      So they were really depicted as making friends even with changelings and werewolves? Yes, that is a surprise to me, but I can see how it feels Star Trek-y.

      But weren't the Void Engineers also waging space opera warfare against the Sons of Ether, Nephandi, and Marauders to rule the other planets? When they could have secretly teamed up with the Etherites to at least stop the Nephandi and Marauders and Threat Null out there... they decided to sacrifice all their own ideals instead?

      That doesn't seem like consistent writing about them being neutral to outsiders. And it doesn't really work with them begging the Euthanatoi to let them use Ravanna's Eye while planning to continue shooting their Etherite allies (and the Euthanatoi would know this because they can read minds). Or start shooting them if that's a new, Revised development. It also isn't all that consistent a depiction of their ideals mattering that much to them either, including the part about getting help from literal necromancers.

      And they unquestioningly, unanimously stick with the Union even knowing that they can't ever explain Threat Null because the allies they love would happily join Threat Null and help blow up their own voidships? But doesn't that.... uh.... bother them? I mean, I thought they were terrified of the rest of the Union becoming Threat Null. But that's not a sane reason to double down on helping them against the guys who could be their actual, genuine allies if they'd just swallow some pride. Do they believe the Etherites and Traditions were recently taken over by Nephandi or something?


      Don't get me wrong, semi-magical space opera contests between Void Engineers and Sons of Ether actually sounds a lot more fun than Technocracy-as-Paranoia (to be fair, most things would). But I'm having trouble following the internal logic of their policies in any edition.
      Last edited by Erinys; 03-12-2021, 01:36 AM.


      I am extremely literal-minded and always write very literally. If I don't say something explicitly, please never assume I implied it. The only exception is if I try to joke.
      Exalted and cWoD book list. Exalted name-generators, Infernal and 1E-2.5E homebrew from many authors.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Erinys View Post
        I have another annoying question about the Technocracy. A few times I've seen them mentioned as the only option for playing hard-science Star Trek types. But...

        Star Trek is just about the mushiest, least consistent, least plausible scifi on TV. And The Federation is all about .... communism and the Prime Detective. It's even a multi-species collective.
        But the Void Engineers are capitalist space marines? Funded by the Syndicate. And... they shoot aliens instead of making alliances with them?
        And... isn't outer space literally in the Umbra? Doesn't that make hard sci-fi just not possible in-setting?

        Once again, I don't get it. Not saying it's badwrongfun, but how does it scratch that Star Trek itch?
        Take note that this is why the Void Engineers were supposed to defect.

        The VE wanted to be Star Trek and meet aliens.

        The rest of the Union wondered why the VE weren't acting more like Warhammer 40K.

        But weren't the Void Engineers also waging space opera warfare against the Sons of Ether, Nephandi, and Marauders to rule the other planets? When they could have secretly teamed up with the Etherites to at least stop the Nephandi and Marauders and Threat Null out there... they decided to sacrifice all their own ideals instead?
        Generally they WERE teaming against the Nephandi and Marauders with the Sons of Ether and more or less knew better than anyone else that "different does not equal evil."

        Because the Void Engineers had DIMENSIONAL SCIENCE which means, through scientific gobbledegook terms:

        "We summon and control spirits as well as make pacts with them."

        The reason why some wanted to defect was because of these alliances. Then like 90% of the Convention was killed.
        Last edited by CTPhipps; 03-12-2021, 01:54 AM.


        Author of Cthulhu Armageddon, I was a Teenage Weredeer, Straight Outta Fangton, Lucifer's Star, and the Supervillainy Saga.

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        • #5
          Yeah, killed by the Dimenional Anomaly they themselves created.

          But this helps clarify the 2E situation.

          The Threat Null also should have been a giant neon sign warning them to leave the Union now and run away as fast as possible. As you said, Threat Null is the ultimate creation of the Union itself. And the VEs even realize the other Conventions may voluntarily join them.
          Last edited by Erinys; 03-12-2021, 02:02 AM.


          I am extremely literal-minded and always write very literally. If I don't say something explicitly, please never assume I implied it. The only exception is if I try to joke.
          Exalted and cWoD book list. Exalted name-generators, Infernal and 1E-2.5E homebrew from many authors.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Erinys View Post
            Yeah, killed by the Dimenional Anomaly they themselves created.

            But this helps clarify the 2E situation.

            The Threat Null also should have been a giant neon sign warning them to leave the Union now and run away as fast as possible. As you said, Threat Null is the ultimate creation of the Union itself. And the VEs even realize the other Conventions may voluntarily join them.
            Eh, the Void Engineer who dropped the nuke on the Labyrinth was a Nephandi.

            The Void Engineers are now also fighting Threat Null, which means they're explictly the good guys against the 1st Edition Technocracy on steroids.

            They don't defect NOW because the irony is that the Union's worst elements are people they can legally shoot and everyone else is off the Kool Aid too. M20's Technocracy guide shows the Unionists are like 1/10th the assholes they used to be.

            Which is still pretty assholish but not that much worse than the Traditions and they have Nukes and Hit Marks needed to fight the Borg and Daleks.


            Author of Cthulhu Armageddon, I was a Teenage Weredeer, Straight Outta Fangton, Lucifer's Star, and the Supervillainy Saga.

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            • #7
              Yeah again, that was the VE before the Avatar Storm, before the Revised Edition. Prior to that, Threat Null didn't exist and the VE were thriving. Now, they're just trying to survive and keep the Earth safe, with some fleeting hopes of recovering what they lost.

              That said, even after it they're willing to work with the Traditions against the Nephandi, Threat Null and other horrors out in the void. In fact, they're just as likely to avoid fighting the Traditions in the void now than they did back then due to how battered and over-stretched they've become.


              Homo sapiens. What an inventive, invincible species. It's only a few million years since they crawled up out of the mud and learned to walk. Puny, defenceless bipeds. They've survived flood, famine and plague. They've survived cosmic wars and holocausts. And now, here they are, out among the stars, waiting to begin a new life. Ready to outsit eternity. They're indomitable. Indomitable.

              Comment


              • #8
                It's also worth mentioning that Threat Null is capable of straight up assimilating membership of the other four Conventions whether said mages want it or not, via a turbocharged version of the indoctrination that they've undergone. Since the VE have been deprogrammed, they're relatively safe. But if they left, the Syndicate or ItX would start launching offworld projects, and only one has to come in contact with the Nulls to infect the entire earthbound Union. In a lot of ways, the Void Engineers want more than ever to leave Control and conditioning and the constant audits behind, but they've come to the grim realization that they're the thin membrane between the powderkeg that is their ostensible allies and the open flame that is their corrupted former leadership.


                Never not tired

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by AkatsukiLeader13 View Post
                  Yeah again, that was the VE before the Avatar Storm, before the Revised Edition. Prior to that, Threat Null didn't exist and the VE were thriving. Now, they're just trying to survive and keep the Earth safe, with some fleeting hopes of recovering what they lost.

                  That said, even after it they're willing to work with the Traditions against the Nephandi, Threat Null and other horrors out in the void. In fact, they're just as likely to avoid fighting the Traditions in the void now than they did back then due to how battered and over-stretched they've become.
                  The Ascension War ended with Revised so the Void Engineers haven't been at war with the Traditions for decades. Literally, most modern VE probably have never fought in the Ascension War.

                  The Progenitors and those crazy psycho brain stealing NWO are pretty much the only people continuing to do so.


                  Author of Cthulhu Armageddon, I was a Teenage Weredeer, Straight Outta Fangton, Lucifer's Star, and the Supervillainy Saga.

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                  • #10
                    Nilbog hit it right on the head. The VE are terrified of the rest of the Union finding out about Threat Null and how they'll react to it. So they don't tell them. Even as ItX continues to demand expeditions to Autochthonia, they refuse to tell them. Even as they know the NWO knows they're hiding things from the rest of them, they refuse to tell them. Even as they beg the Syndicate for more funding and resources to fight Threat Null, they don't tell them. Even as the Progenitors notice the signs of PTSD and trauma growing among them, they refuse to tell them.

                    So they stay and they fight. Traumatized by everything they've lost and by the fighting they still wage in the void to defend the Earth.

                    Like I said, it's one of the great tragedies that the most hopeful and optimistic of them are slowly losing that hope and optimism, unseen and unnoticed by those around them all because of that fear.


                    Homo sapiens. What an inventive, invincible species. It's only a few million years since they crawled up out of the mud and learned to walk. Puny, defenceless bipeds. They've survived flood, famine and plague. They've survived cosmic wars and holocausts. And now, here they are, out among the stars, waiting to begin a new life. Ready to outsit eternity. They're indomitable. Indomitable.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by AkatsukiLeader13 View Post
                      Nilbog hit it right on the head. The VE are terrified of the rest of the Union finding out about Threat Null and how they'll react to it. So they don't tell them. Even as ItX continues to demand expeditions to Autochthonia, they refuse to tell them. Even as they know the NWO knows they're hiding things from the rest of them, they refuse to tell them. Even as they beg the Syndicate for more funding and resources to fight Threat Null, they don't tell them. Even as the Progenitors notice the signs of PTSD and trauma growing among them, they refuse to tell them.

                      So they stay and they fight. Traumatized by everything they've lost and by the fighting they still wage in the void to defend the Earth.

                      Like I said, it's one of the great tragedies that the most hopeful and optimistic of them are slowly losing that hope and optimism, unseen and unnoticed by those around them all because of that fear.
                      Oddly, it's when they're at their most aligned with the Union as well as morally justified.

                      Mind you, while it will be a big blow, I don't actually think the modern Union would be THAT shocked by the argument, "By the way, our former members were turned into monsters by the Borg."

                      That's just a thing they've been taught to expect about the Umbra.


                      Author of Cthulhu Armageddon, I was a Teenage Weredeer, Straight Outta Fangton, Lucifer's Star, and the Supervillainy Saga.

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                      • #12
                        There is still a degree of "No War Beyond the Line!" with the VEs. Trads, Changelings, etc. that will stand with them against threats to the Earth are welcome ... in space. On Earth it remains different.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post

                          The Ascension War ended with Revised so the Void Engineers haven't been at war with the Traditions for decades. Literally, most modern VE probably have never fought in the Ascension War.

                          The Progenitors and those crazy psycho brain stealing NWO are pretty much the only people continuing to do so.
                          Astro's right. While the War has greatly eased up post-Avatar Storm, especially beyond Earth, and the Union has completely ended their Pogroms, the Ascension War is still going on.

                          And actually most NWO and Syndicate members are fine with that. While they are having their own issues with the Masses and the Consensus, they're pretty confident that they've managed to beat the Traditions through social manipulations, that they are dying relics of a bygone age. Sure, they're still around and causing problems but they're far cry from what they were and they've learned ways of undermining them in the eyes of the Consensus without firing shots. Or as the Syndicate put it:

                          We love the Traditions. They’re an endless supply of fantastic product ideas.
                          You know, once I didn't really care for the Syndicate. Then their Rev Ed book came out and I developed a fondness for those money-grubbing assholes. Turning your enemies' Beliefs into products for the Masses to get them to think of such things as childish and fictional while making more revenue for yourself is such a brilliant, asshole move.

                          But yeah the NWO and Syndicate have largely taken the stance of fight them directly when and where they have to, subtly undermine them the rest of the time. It's cheaper and easier that way and lets them focus on other important tasks.

                          It's the Progenitors, and even then more gung-ho members of Applied Sciences that want the Pogrom and open war back because they've become quite upset over the Anti-vaxxers, Faith Healers and pseudo-science that some of the Mages are pushing on the Masses.

                          And honestly I can't blame them. When I see stories of children suffering or outright dying of things that could have been easily treated or prevented but weren't because of their parents' delusional beliefs, I get quite angry. I could only imagine how I'd feel if such people were being used by some of my enemies to attack me.

                          Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post

                          Oddly, it's when they're at their most aligned with the Union as well as morally justified.

                          Mind you, while it will be a big blow, I don't actually think the modern Union would be THAT shocked by the argument, "By the way, our former members were turned into monsters by the Borg."

                          That's just a thing they've been taught to expect about the Umbra.
                          Well there's two other things that makes Threat Null scary for them. First they can almost instantly co-opt and take over Conditioned Technocrats. The opening and closing fiction of their Rev Ed book revolves around, with a VE crew dealing with a ItXer stowaway that ends with them coming into contact with the ItX Threat Null and the woman almost immediately gets taken over by Threat Null through her cybernetics, ending with the VE Captain putting a bullet in her brain.

                          The problem with that is every other Convention uses Conditioning to varying degrees. It's an expected part of the Union. The VE don't. If they tell the others about Threat Null they will have to tell them about that and then they will have to explain to their peers why Threat Null wasn't able to take them over, leading to the VE explaining how they undo the Union's Conditioning and have been long before Threat Null.

                          That's not going to make other Conventions happy. Mistrust towards the VE will grow, mistrust that has already been on the rise because of how secretive they've been. Some doubt their claims about Threat Null or worse, think the Convention has itself been co-opted and are trying to sabotage the rest of the Union.

                          The second thing is the terrifying question of where is the VE Threat Null? Why haven't they seen the twisted version of themselves? They don't know and it's a quiet fear within the Convention because by their own admission if anything in Threat Null knew how best to fight the VE it would be their Threat Null counterparts. If they tell the rest of the Union about Threat Null, they're going to ask where their counterparts are and when the VE doesn't have an answer for them, the other Conventions are going to get suspicious, adding to the above mistrust.

                          So the VE are stuck. They're getting worn down but they cannot tell the others why they need more help, more resources. If they do tell them why, it could cause all kinds of new problems for them, problems that could be fatal for the Convention and the entire planet.


                          Homo sapiens. What an inventive, invincible species. It's only a few million years since they crawled up out of the mud and learned to walk. Puny, defenceless bipeds. They've survived flood, famine and plague. They've survived cosmic wars and holocausts. And now, here they are, out among the stars, waiting to begin a new life. Ready to outsit eternity. They're indomitable. Indomitable.

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                          • #14
                            This is all really informative, thanks.

                            So the other Conventions have not at all stopped trying to genocide the Traditions and Reality Deviants, they just think they can do it more subtly now. I recall reading that they invaded and utterly destroyed the last traces of all the Tradition Horizon Realms, too.

                            Is Threat Null constantly growing or are they actually defeatable? I can ask the same about space Nephandi, actually. Isn't there only a small, finite number of Sleepers out there available to assimilate/convert/invert?
                            Last edited by Erinys; 03-12-2021, 02:15 PM.


                            I am extremely literal-minded and always write very literally. If I don't say something explicitly, please never assume I implied it. The only exception is if I try to joke.
                            Exalted and cWoD book list. Exalted name-generators, Infernal and 1E-2.5E homebrew from many authors.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Erinys View Post
                              Is Threat Null constantly growing or are they actually defeatable? I can ask the same about space Nephandi, actually. Isn't there only a small, finite number of Sleepers out there available to assimilate/convert/invert?
                              Threat Null is in the Umbra so it could have a planet of billions of robot people but it wouldn't matter unless they can get across the Veil.

                              Edit:

                              Actually, they have a Dyson Sphere and Autochtonia so they DO have planets of billions of robot people.
                              Last edited by CTPhipps; 03-12-2021, 06:10 PM.


                              Author of Cthulhu Armageddon, I was a Teenage Weredeer, Straight Outta Fangton, Lucifer's Star, and the Supervillainy Saga.

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